Chapter 5 - Inward Simplicity: The Divine Center
What will free us from this bondage to the ever-spiraling demands that are placed upon us? The answer is found in the grace Christian simplicity. This virtue, once worked into our lives, will unify the demands of our existence; it will prune and trim gently and in the right places, bringing a liberty of soul that will eliminate constant reversions to ourselves.
Within all of us is a whole conglomerate of selves. There is the timid self, the courageous self, the business self, the parental self, the religious self, the literary self, the energetic self. All of these selves are rugged individualists. No bargaining or compromise for them. Each one screams to protect his or her vested interests. If a decision is made to spend a relaxed evening listening to Chopin, the business self and the civic self rise up in protest at the loss of precious time. The energetic self paces back and fourth, impatient and frustrated, and the religious self reminds us of lost opportunities for study or evangelistic contact. If the decision is to accept an appointment on the human services board, the civic self smiles with satisfaction, but all the excluded selves filibuster. No wonder we feel distracted and torn. No wonder we over commit our schedules and live lives of frantic faithfulness.
But when we experience life at the Center (with God as the Center), all is changed. Our many selves come under the control of the divine Arbitrator, (The Holy Spirit).
Everything becomes orientated to this new Center (Christ) of reference.
We enter a refreshing balance and equilibrium in life.
From Brother Lawrence - The time of business for me does not differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.
My major takeaways...
I couldn't believe how much Foster's comments about the different 'selves' within us fight with each other. When resting I fight with myself that I should be studying, when studying I wonder if I should be exercising, when exercising I wonder if I should be with the kids, when with the kids I fret about undone tasks that need completing. Absolutely there is need for me to consciously get Christ at the center and trust him as I do all that needs doing in life, all in due course.
I have have to chose to...
1. Let go and trust Him. All my DOING will never get everything DONE. I have to remember how important it is at times simply to be. Be with Him, be with my kids, be with myself etc.
2. Chose to slow down.
3. Accept that seasons in life create different priorities. Even though I still have to fight this, having kids has helped me a lot. Golf and the gym are on the back burner at the moment. Bikes, books, and bath time reign supreme.